Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Nascent Campaign for Justice for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

This post is copied from the VIPCSA wiki. 

The UK establishment in Westminster, Whitehall and elsewhere is like the Augean Stables, full of powerful people who have been covering up and blocking investigation of child sex abuse. Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables by diverting a river through them. In our case we need a river of testimony from survivors of abuse, supported by people who are outraged by the massive injustice that soils our nation.
A head of steam is building up within civil society to correct this injustice. All abusers must be brought to justice, but particularly abusers who have taken advantage of their positions of power to cover up their actions and block investigation into their crimes.
The campaign is at the moment is gathering itself together.

Social Media
Social media has given wings to this campaign, with many survivors of abuse taking to Twitter (see hashtages #csa #csainquiry #VIPaedophile and #avoice4all).
There are also a number of blogs on the topic of abuse.
There are several petitions in circulation, some about specific cases of injustice, one calling for the official overarching Inquiry to have survivors on the panel, and one for it to be led by Michael Mansfield QC.
Another possible web-based tool would be a database where survivors and witnesses could enter data anonymously and securely, detailing the who, where, when, and what of their abuse.

Peoples Tribunal
One of the main proposals is to form a Peoples Tribunal (PT) to run in parallel to the official inquiry. This is an indication of the lack of trust that has grown up, with good reason, in the ability of the establishment to offer justice to survivors of abuse.
Here is the Facebook page on the Peoples Tribunal.
There are precendents for the Peoples Tribunal in the Russell Tribunal aka International War Crimes Tribunal. There is also the Iran Tribunalwhich is at present looking into human rights abuses in Iran.
The Peoples Tribunal could be led by John Cooper QC.
PT is certainly one possible way forward. It would require a lot of dedicated work, and also a lot of money to pay for full-time work, and travelling expenses etc. for witnesses.

Another possibility that could support and initiate the PT is to call a national Conference for Survivors of Abuse.
Conferences can offer a morale boost to people who have been fighting for justice on their own for many years.
The conference could have a few speakers setting out the facts of the situation, but would be mainly devoted to workshops where survivors could talk together, offer support and discuss ideas for obtaining justice and ways of being heard.
Last, arising out of the Conference, or maybe arising independently-  a network for support.

Network of Survivors
Mutual support networks in cities and towns where survivors can meet regularly to gain the support that peer groups can offer. This is a low-cost grassroots movement, but can be very powerful. Alcoholics Anonymous and many other self-help groups offer a model.

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